With the embarrassment of the Kin lurking in the background, Microsoft has a lot riding on Mobile 7, especially when coming in so late in the game. And where is the Microsoft Tablet? I’m not talking about a clunky small laptop running Windows XP that accepts touch commands. I’m talking about an iPad killer. Microsoft thought the tablet market was dead, then Apple goes and sells 3.7 million iPads. Steve Balmer is confident that the Microsoft version of the tablet will leave Android in its wake saying “If with the application base, with the tools that we have, with the user understanding and momentum and everything going on, we can’t compete with…whatever the weird collection of Android machines is going to look like, shame on us.” Balmer shouldn’t be so quick to rule out the Android tablet as viable competitor. Especially considering that Microsoft doesn’t even have a smart phone on the same planet as Google. They really need to consider what a tablet and a smart phone is used for. A tablet is a consumption device. No one wants to type out a word document on a touch screen. They want to watch movies, listen to music, and read aggregated news from multiple sources. And you should be able to tether your phone to your tablet to get on the Internet without having to pay for a second data plan. If they can come up with something that hits on these features and that doesn’t look like or behave anything like Windows, they may just have a fighting chance at redemption.
Even though Microsoft was early to get into the smart phone / handheld market, we have yet to see a truly impressive device from the software company. Partnered with many key cell phone manufacturers, it is amazing that we haven’t seen Microsoft assert a more dominant position in this ever expanding market. Windows Phone 7 is supposed to put Microsoft back in the game after losing a great deal of market share to Apple and Google. 7 will need to have a wow factor that can compete with the already established players. XBOX live connectivity, cloud integration with whatever email address you chose (not a hotmail only service), music and movie streaming from your home computer or from the cloud, and some kind of Microsoft Office integration.These are the key elements Microsoft needs to hit on right out of the gates. They can’t release a a mobile OS that doesn’t have cut and paste capabilities, we went through that already with the iPhone and Android. Microsoft needs to offer the at least the same features and functionality that we are used to on these competing platforms.